Homeless People and the Weather

Homeless people come here for the weather.
It is one of those myths about homeless people that remains, regardless of how well and how often it is refuted.

Mostly, the statement is made in fair weather cities such as San Diego, CA.   Some people claim, erroneously, that San Diego has a large homeless population precisely because they are attracted to San Diego’s mild weather.  Of course this only works if one considers only San Diego.  Yes, I understand that some people are that myopic.  For whatever reason, myopic people are usually the most phobic about the homeless.  But, if the weather really was a draw for homeless people, we should be able to see a corresponding drop in homelessness in places with worse weather.  So, lets take a look at a place with some of the worst weather in the country, Fargo ND.

Fargo has a total population of about 100,000 people.   Of that 100,000 people 720 of them are homeless.  This makes the math easy because we can easily see that the rate of homelessness in Fargo is 720 per 100,000 people.   Now, lets see what the rate of homelessness is in San Diego is per 100,000.

San Diego County has a total population of 3.5 Million people, and a homeless population count of 9000 people.   Now to find the rate per 100k, we divide the 3.5 Million by 100k and we get 35.  We then take the homeless population of 9000 and also divide that by 35.   This gives us a homeless population rate in San Diego of approx 257 per 100,000 – proving that San Diego has a much smaller rate of homelessness than Fargo ND.

Have you seen what the weather is like in Fargo ND?  How about in New York City where there are some 60,000 homeless people.  The weather sucks there too, most of the time.  The city of Seattle reports having over 9000 homeless people, at a rate of 450 homeless people per 100k, and it rains there 140 days a year and claims having 226 cloudy days per year as well.  San Diego’s weather is clearly better than Seattle’s, so why is it that Seattle’s homeless rate is higher?

And what of Miami Florida?  It’s a big tourist draw, many people go there to retire specifically because of the weather.  Yet Miami/Dade county has only 4100 total homeless people – a homeless population rate of only 197 homeless people per 100k residents.

And just to make it more clear –
Fargo ND (crappy weather) 720 homeless people per 100,000 residents
Seattle WA (a little less but still crappy weather) 450 homeless people per 100,000 residents
San Diego (the best weather in the entire country) 257 homeless people per 100,000 residents
Miami (almost as nice as San Diego) 197 homeless people per 100,000 residents

(All population numbers came from official government websites found on the internet.)

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About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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